Not Without My Daughter


Not Without My Daughter

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Movie Info

In this docudrama based on true events, a mid-'80s Michigan housewife finds her life turned upside down when a vacation to Tehran with her Iranian husband turns into virtual imprisonment for her and her young daughter. Betty Mahmoody (Sally Field) is reluctant to visit the wartorn homeland of her doctor husband, Moody (Alfred Molina). But, depressed about the racism of the American medical establishment and pining for contact with his family, Moody convinces her to join him for a two-week jaunt. The Islamic fundamentalism and strange customs of Iran bewilder and frighten Betty and her daughter, Mahtob (Sheila Rosenthal). But nothing prepares her for Moody's announcement that the family will be remaining in Tehran indefinitely. Despite beatings and more pervasive psychological control from her husband and his relatives, Betty makes it to the Swiss embassy (there is no American ambassador at the time). There, she learns that as the wife of an Iranian, she is now automatically considered a citizen and that she has absolutely no parental rights over Mahtob in this country. Betty then endures several years as a virtual prisoner, escaping only with the help of Westernized Iranian friends. Based on the book by the real-life Mahmoody and William Hoffer, Not Without My Daughter was coincidentally released during the long build-up to 1991's Gulf War.


Critic Reviews for Not Without My Daughter

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (8)

Audience Reviews for Not Without My Daughter

  • Feb 03, 2012
    brilliant movie great acting and most of it actually happened in real life. full of suspense very good thriller movie
    Paul A Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2011
    Wow. This was an incredibly chilling and moving story with a great performance by Sally Field. I literally felt that I was Betty, experiencing the hostility toward women in Iran. She made me feel what she must have been feeling, being held hostage against her will in a foreign country where she is not treated equally to man. She lived in constant fear of being beaten or killed or having her child taken away. This movie is based on the true story of Betty's adventure as she tries to escape her abusive Iranian husband and return to America with her daughter. The ONLY negative thing I have to say about the movie is that the husband's demeanor seemed to dramatically change as he went from a loving, devoted husband and father to a brutal, controlling Muslim. The movie does not show many Muslim characters in a good light... in fact, the majority of the Muslims are shown to be uncaring and insensitive. I did not receive the movie as racist but I fear that others might. The culture was not shown in a very good light, in fact, I found myself thinking from time to time, "Praise God I live in America!" The American flag waving at the end is almost a little hokey even though it's supposed to represent triumph and freedom. The message I'm getting is: "America= Good Iran= Bad"" I'm sure not all of Iran is how Betty experienced it. Overall, an amazing and well-told story.
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2010
    The story of Betty Mahmoody played by Sally Fields who've been living happily with her husband Moody and their daughter Mahtob in America for many years. Moody works as a doctor at the hospital but misses his family and home country Iran (he's been living and working in the US for the past twenty years). Betty is very reluctant to go to Iran because it was such a war torn and primitive country but Moody swears that everything would be alright and they would return in 2 weeks tops. Betty agrees and so the family boards a plane to Iran. But soon the horrible truth about their 'vacation' surfaces and Betty learns that her husband doesn't intend to bring his family back to America... ever. She may return, he says, but their daughter must stay. Being the good mother that she is she refuses to go without her daughter (hence the name of the movie). In a hostile, war-torn country, where even the slightest misstep can mean death, she makes a desperate bid to escape with her child. I thought the transformation of Alfred Molina's character from caring, loving husband and father to an oppressive and cold-hearted fanatic was sickening but the movie didn't show details as to what prompted such a transformation. (Call me crazy but you're telling me that you've had a fairytale marriage for many years, and the wife never noticed anything odd about him, and then the air in Iran suddenly turns him into a nasty monster?) Nevertheless, the story is told from Betty Mahmoody's experience and tells of her suffering, the people she met, how she got out and you get to see it through HER eyes. Whatever one thinks about religion or cultural differences, the fact is that people ARE different. Moreover, the depiction of Moody as swinging from moderate to radical is based on Betty's memories. This is one woman's story and the viewer should draw his or her own conclusion.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2009
    Unlike the Mini Series, the Movie stayed true to the spirit of the book.
    Wahida K Super Reviewer

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